Tuesday, 21 September 2010

ROBERT HOLMES - the complete credits

Nothing whatsoever to do with Euston, but in the spirit of celebrating classic British TV I thought it might be interesting to try and draw together all the credits amassed by the screenwriter Robert Holmes, justly celebrated for his work as both writer and script editor of Doctor Who, but who also worked on many other television series, some very famous, some largely forgotten, over a period of almost 30 years (1958-1987).

Some brief biographical data: Robert (Colin) Holmes was born on 2 April, 1926.  In 1944 he joined the army, becoming the youngest ever commissioned officer in the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders and serving in Burma.  After demob he joined the police and eventually on to court work, where he left the force to become a court reporter and journalist.  Working in the Midlands as a sports journalist in the mid-1950s, he became the final editor of the famous "John Bull" magazine, and started to write sample scripts for popular TV series.

His first credits for television are alleged to have been four episodes of the popular twice-weekly ATV hospital drama Emergency - Ward 10 in 1958, but I can find no record of these.  His regular work on this show doesn't come until 1962.

In September 1959, he began work as Story Editor on a new Granada series called Knight Errant '59, kind of a precursor to The Equalizer but probably without the violence or Stewart Copeland theme tune.  Credits will run chronologically as regards the first episode of each different series he worked on.

Knight Errant ‘59, becoming Knight Errant ‘60 [Series 1]/Knight Errant Ltd [Series 2] (Granada 1959-1961, 75 x 50m)
Crime drama series following the private investigations of the Knight Errant agency.
Story Editor (1959-60), plus writer:
1.19 “The Creditor” (16.02.1960)
1.29 “The Wall of Death” (26.04.1960)
1.31 “Brother Cain” (10.05.1960)
1.37 “The King of Kandoga” (01.07.1960)

Harpers West One (ATV 1961-63, 32 x 50m)
Weekly soap opera set in a large West End department store, created by John Whitney & Geoffrey Bellman.  Tagline: “Shopping with the lid off!”
1.02 tx 03.07.1961
2.10 tx 19.11.1962
2.14 tx 24.12.1962

Family Solicitor (ATV 1961, 24 x 50m)
Series starring Robert Flemyng and A J Brown as, respectively, Anthony Freeman and William Naylor, the senior partners in solictors' firm "Naylor and Freeman".  Also starring a 34 year-old Geoffrey Palmer as junior solicitor Hugh Cowley.  Produced by Jack Williams.
1.05 “Man of Straw” (26.07.1961)
1.07 “Strike Action” (09.08.1961)
1.20 “Statement of Affairs” (09.11.1961)

Deadline Midnight (ATV 1960-1961, 39 x 50m)
Drama series featuring the characters and events involved in the workings of a national newspaper, the Daily Globe.  Sounds good, actually.
2.17    “Man in a Frame” (30.9.1961)

Emergency – Ward 10 (ATV 1957-1967)
A stupendous 50 episodes tx between 19 June 1962 and 20 December 1963

Dr Finlay’s Casebook (BBC/BBC One, 1962-1971)
Very famous drama series created by A. J. Cronin, about the doctors of a country practice in the Scottish village of Tannochbrae.  Starring Bill Simpson as Finlay, the junior partner in the practice, Andrew Cruickshank as Dr. Cameron, the craggy senior partner, and Barbara Mullen as unflappable housekeeper/receptionist Janet.
2.33    “The Hallelujah Stakes” (10.5.1964)
2.36    “The Old Indomitable” (31.5.1964)
2.40    “The Doctor Cried” (28.6.1964)
3.07    “Charity, Dr Finlay” (14.2.1965)

No Hiding Place (Associated-Rediffusion 1959-1967, 236 episodes)
Being the adventures of Detective Chief Superintendent Tom Lockhart of Scotland Yard, played by Raymond Francis.  The character of Lockhart had already toplined no less than two earlier series, Murder Bag (1957-59) and Crime Sheet (1959).  Spin-offs are fun.
7.07    “Blood and Water” (15.3.1965)
7.21    “A Cry for Help” (24.6.1965)
8.07    “Run Johnnie, Run” (15.12.1965)
9.07    “The Night Walker” (15.6.1966)
9.10    “Golden Boy” (6.7.1966)
10.12    “Who is this Mortimer?” (8.6.1967)

Undermind (ABC 1965, 11 x 50m)
Robert Banks Stewart-devised series about a group of extra-terrestrials attempting to undermine human society from within.  Jeremy Wilkin starred as a young personnel officer who was on their case.  Shades of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and the still-to-come US series The Invaders.
1.10 “Waves of Sound” (10.7.1965)
1.11 “End Signal” (17.7.1965)

INVASION (feature film!) (Merton Park Studios, classified "U" by the BBFC on 21.10.1965)
Written by Roger Marshall from an original story by Robert Holmes.  Produced by Jack Greenwood and directed by Alan Bridges.
The unexpected arrival of an alien space traveller creates problems at a rural hospital.  Starring The Day the Earth Caught Fire's Edward Judd with Valerie Gearon, Lyndon Brook, Barrie Ingham and Yoko Tani.  Ultra-low budget and quite dull, but interesting in that several story elements were reused by Holmes for Doctor Who - "Spearhead from Space" four years later.

Intrigue (ABC 1966, 13 x 50m)
Industrial espionage drama series starring Edward Judd (so soon?) as a freelance security expert, Gavin Grant.  Created by Tony Williamson.
1.08 “Fifty Million Taste Buds Can’t Be Wrong” (19.11.1966)

Mr Rose (Granada 1967-8, approx. 26 x 50m)
William Mervyn starred as retired Chief Inspector Charles Rose, a character who had featured in two earlier Granada crime series, The Odd Man (1962-3) and It’s Dark Outside (1964-5).  There should be far more such jumping about from series to series for television characters nowadays.
1.05 “The Jolly Swagman” (17.3.1967)
1.06 “The Unquiet Ghost” (24.3.1967)
2.01 “The Frozen Swede” (31.5.1968)

Market in Honey Lane (ATV 1967-68, 26 x 50m)
Drama-soap series, created by Louis Marks, set in a London street market.  Starring John Bennett (Li H'sen Chang in Holmes' 1977 Doctor Who story "The Talons of Weng-Chiang").
S1 E04 “Snap” (24.04.1967)
S2 E06 “The Matchmakers” (1.2.1968) by Louis Marks based on an idea by Robert Holmes
S2 E09 “The Organisers” (22.02.1968)

Frontier (Thames TV 1968, 8 x 50m)
A very early series from Thames Television, which began transmissions on 30 July 1968.  Adventure serial recounting tales of a fictitious British batallion in Northern India during the 1880s.  Produced by Michael Chapman.
1.06 “Mutiny” (04.09.1968)

Honey Lane (ATV 1968-69, 52 x 25m / 13 x 40m)
Twice-weekly afternoon half-hour revamp of Market in Honey Lane (see above).  Weekly again from Series Two.
At least 16 episodes over a 10-month period:
S1, E07 tx 22.10.1968
S1, E08 tx 28.10.1968
S1, E17 tx 26.11.1968
S1, E18 tx 28.11.1968
S1, E25 tx 24.12.1968
S1, E26 tx 26.12.1968
S1, E33 tx 20.01.1969
S1, E34 tx 22.01.1969
S1, E41 tx 17.02.1969
S1, E42 tx 18.02.1969
S1, E46 tx 04.03.1969
S1, E49 tx 17.03.1969
S1, E50 tx 18.03.1969
S2, E02 tx 17.07.1969
S2, E06 tx 14.08.1969
S2, E09 tx 04.09.1969
Series ended on E13 – possibly others written by Holmes

The Saint (ATV 1962-9, 118 x 50m)
The most famous screen incarnation of Leslie Charteris’ modern day Robin Hood, starring Roger Moore as Simon Templar.
6.11 “The Scales of Justice” (1.12.1968)

Doctor Who (BBC tv/BBC1 1963-89, 695 episodes usually of 25m)

The granddaddy of this list obviously.  Mr Holmes initially wrote "The Krotons" (4 eps, 28.12.1968-18.1.1969), "The Space Pirates" (6 eps, 8.3.1969-12.4.1969), "Spearhead from Space" (4 eps, 3.1.1970-24.1.1970), "Terror of the Autons" (4 eps, 2.1.1971-23.1.1971), "Carnival of Monsters" (4 eps, 27.1.1973-17.2.1973) and "The Time Warrior" (4 eps, 15.12.1973-5.1.1974).

He then served a glorious 3+ year stint as Script Editor alongside Producer Philip Hinchcliffe (later Graham Williams), 1974-77 (twenty stories, 84 episodes) during which he wrote, unofficially, "The Ark in Space" (rewriting John Lucarotti) (4 eps, 25.1.1975-15.2.1975), "Revenge of the Cybermen" (rewriting Gerry Davis) (4 eps, 19.4.1975-10.5.1975), "Pyramids of Mars" (rewriting Lewis Griefer as "Stephen Harris") (4 eps, 25.10.1975-15.11.1975) and "The Brain of Morbius" (rewriting Terrance Dicks as "Robin Bland") (4 eps, 3.1.1976-24.1.1976); also, officially again, "The Deadly Assassin" (4 eps, 30.10.1976-20.11.1976), "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" (6 eps, 26.2.1977-2.4.1977) and "The Sun Makers" (4 eps, 26.11.1977-17.12.1977).

Freelance again, he wrote "The Ribos Operation" (4 eps, 2.9.1978-23.9.1978) and "The Power of Kroll" (4 eps, 23.12.1978-13.1.1979), then taking a lengthy break from the show before returning for "The Caves of Androzani" (4 eps, 8.3.1984-16.3.1984), "The Two Doctors" (3 x 45m, 16.2.1985-2.3.1985) and finally Parts One to Four and Thirteen of "The Trial of a Time Lord" (5 eps, 6.9.1986-27.9.1986 and 29.11.1986).

I calculate Holmes wrote approx. 76 episodes of the series and 18 full stories between 1968-86 (Russell T Davies wrote 31 episodes and 25 full stories of the new series between 2005-10).

The Inside Man (LWT 17.1.1969-4.4.1969, 12 x 50m)
Frederick Jaeger as doctor-psychiatrist-criminologist Dr James Austen.
S1, E09 “The Spy Vanishes” (14.03.1969)

Fraud Squad (ATV 1969-70, 26 x 50m)
Police drama created by Ivor Jay relating the cases of the Fraud Squad on the trail of fraudulent crime at all levels of society, from boardroom to bingo hall.  Starring Patrick O'Connell and Joanna Van Gyseghem.
1.01 “Turbot on Ice” (20.05.1969)
1.03 “Last Exit to Liechtenstein” (03.06.1969)
1.13 “Anybody Here Seen Kelly?” (12.08.1969)
2.13 “The Price of a Copper” (12.12.1970)

Happy Ever After (ATV 1969-70, 14 x 50m)
A collection of hour-long plays, produced by John Cooper.
1.5 “The Prank” (16.12.1969)

Doomwatch (BBC1 1970-2, 38 x 50m)
Science fiction series created by Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis about a government agency investigating ecological threats.
2.11 “The Inquest” (1.3.1971)

Spyder’s Web (ATV 1972, 13 x 50m)
Espionage series created by Richard Harris and starring Patricia Cutts, Anthony Ainley and Veronica Carlson as agents working undercover for government agency ‘The Web’.
1.11 “Nobody’s Strawberry Fool” (31.3.1971)

Trial (BBC 1971, 13 episodes)
Details decidedly sketchy on this one – serial about a murder trial apparently.
1.10 “Mister X” (28.10.1971)

Dead of Night (BBC2 1972, 7 x 50m)
Supernatural anthology series produced by Innes Lloyd.  Holmes’ episode, which concerns an airline pilot (Peter Barkworth) being haunted by a wartime bomber crew, is one of only three still remaining in the archives.  Episode directed by Rodney Bennett.
Episode 2 “Return Flight” (12.11.1972)

The Regiment (BBC1 1972-3, 23 x 50m)
Drama series tracing a British army regiment through the Boer War to India in 1904, and starring Christopher Cazenove and Michael Brennan.  Second series produced by Terence Dudley.
2.02 “Depot” (2.3.1973)
2.11 “North West Frontier” (4.5.1973)

Warship (BBC1 1973-7, 45 x 50m)
Drama series about frigate HMS Hero and her crew, devised by Ian Mackintosh and Anthony Coburn (who originally produced).
1.5 “The Drop” (5.7.1973)

Spy Trap (BBC1 1972-5, 36 x 30m, 24 x 50m)
Adventures in espionage, originally shown in four-night-per-week serials, created by Robert Barr and starring Paul Daneman as Commander Ryan RN, head of “The Department”, a government agency somewhere between MI5 and MI6.  Not talked about too much nowadays for some reason, would be wonderful to see some of this stuff...
2.05 “A Perfect Victim” (9.10.1973)

Dixon of Dock Green (BBC/BBC1 1955-76, 432 episodes)
Ted Willis’ very long-running series about PC, later Sergeant George Dixon (Jack Warner).
20.05 “The Unwanted” (26.1.1974)

General Hospital (ATV 1972-1979)
The lives and loves of the staff of a Midlands general hospital, Emergency - Ward 10 revisited really.  Twice-weekly 30m afternoon episodes until 1975; 60m weekly peak-time thereafter.
2 half-hour episodes – 07.03.1974 & 08.03.1974

Blake’s 7 (BBC1 1978-81, 52 x 50m)
Terry Nation’s space opera about a band of intergalactic freedom fighters.  Having turned down the post of Script Editor, and suggested eventual post holder Chris Boucher for the job, Holmes contributed four scripts.
2.07 “Killer” (20.2.1979)
2.11 “Gambit” (20.3.1979)
4.03 “Traitor” (12.10.1981)
4.11 “Orbit” (7.12.1981)

Armchair Thriller (Thames TV 1978/1980, 52 x 25m)
Robert Holmes served as Story Editor on Series 2 of this popular ITV anthology series (Robert Banks Stewart having performed same duties on Series 1).  The stories he worked on comprised “The Victim” (6 episodes – 8.1.1980-24.1.1980), “Dying Day” (4 eps - 12.2.1980-21.2.1980), “Fear of God” (4 eps, 26.2.1980-4.3.1980), “The Circe Complex” (6 eps, 25.3.1980-10.4.1980) and “The Chelsea Murders” (prepared as 6 eps but eventually shown as 104m special 30.12.1981).

Jukes of Piccadilly (Thames TV 1980, 6 x 25m)
Two-part comedy thrillers for children focussing on Brinsley Dukes (Nigel Hawthorne), owner of an exclusive tea emporium, who indulges in his hobby of private investigation.  Devised by Robert Banks Stewart.
1.03/1.04 “The Case of the Arabian Kidnap” – Episodes 1 & 2 (25.2.1980 & 3.3.1980)
1.05/1.06 “The Dulverton Green” – Episodes 1 & 2 (10.3.1980 & 17.3.1980)
Directed by Terry Steel

Shoestring (BBC1 1979-80, 21 x 55m)
Robert Holmes was Script Editor (for the first six episodes of Series 2) on this series about phone-in private detective Eddie Shoestring, played by Trevor Eve.  The episodes he is credited on are, in production order, “Room with a View” (5.10.1980), “Utmost Good Faith” (9.11.1980), “Mocking Bird” (19.10.1980), “The Mayfly Dance” (26.10.1980), “The Farmer Had a Wife” (2.11.1980) and “The Teddy Bears’ Nightmare” (12.10.1980).  He was succeeded by Blake’s 7 Script Editor Chris Boucher.

The Nightmare Man (BBC1 1.5.1981-22.5.1981, 4 x 30m serial)
Fondly remembered thriller with science fiction overtones, adapted by Robert Holmes from David Wiltshire’s 1978 novel “Child of Vodyanoi” and directed by the great Douglas Camfield.  Starring James Warwick, Celia Imrie and Maurice Roeves.  I missed the first 10m of Part Four back in 1981, I don’t remember that so fondly.

Into the Labyrinth (HTV 1981-2, 21 x 25m)
Serials, devised by Bob Baker, about a trio of children assisting trapped magician Rothgo (Ron Moody) to regain his power source “The Nidus” and defeat evil witch Belor (Pamela Salem).  Via the labyrinth they travel to various times & places in Earth’s history in their search.  Probably inspired by Doctor Who’s ‘Key to Time’ season.  Series 3 dispensed with two of the children and introduced a new magician, Lazlo (Chris Harris).
2.5 “Shadrach” (7.9.1981)
3.3 “Dr Jekyll and Mrs Hyde” (11.8.1982)

Juliet Bravo (BBC1 1980-85, 88 x 50m)
Ian Kennedy Martin’s popular Saturday night series about a female police inspector in a small northern town.  Starring Stephanie Turner as Inspector Jean Darblay in the first three series.
3.05 “A Breach of the Peace” (2.10.1982)

Bergerac (BBC1 1981-91, 87 episodes mainly 50m plus Christmas specials)
Shoestring creator Robert Banks Stewart, who had worked with Holmes as far back as Knight Errant, created this Jersey-set policier when Trevor Eve decided against a third series.  Starring John Nettles as the eponymous Detective Sergeart of the ‘Bureau des √Čtrangers’.
2.04 “Prime Target” - co-written with Robert Banks Stewart (30.1.1983)
3.07 “A Cry in the Night” (14.1.1984)
5.02 “Winner Takes All” (10.1.1987)*
*Probably filmed as part of the fourth production block in 1985.

Miracles Take Longer (Thames TV 1983-84, 36 x 25m)
Short-lived afternoon serial about a branch of the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.
S2, E13 (28.02.1984)
S2, E14 (29.02.1984)
S2, E15 (06.03.1984)
S2, E16 (07.03.1984)
S2, E18 (14.03.1984)

Robert Holmes sadly passed away on 24 May 1986 after a short illness.  His last work was for Season 23 of Doctor Who; his last writing credit was Bergerac Series 5, Episode 2 "Winner Takes All".  His legacy lives on.